Coverture and Private Separation: Britain and Ontario in Comparative Perspective
29 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013
Date Written: 2012
The paper explores the application of coverture in nineteenth-century Ontario from a perspective that is informed by a detailed understanding of its operation in the English context. Coverture was legally complex because of the many exceptions to it. Only some of the exceptions were transferred to Ontario. The effect of this incomplete transfer is examined by analyzing the treatment of private separation agreements in nineteenth-century Ontario courts. What emerges is that the substantive law remains essentially the same, but in the different institutional and procedural setting of Ontario there appears to have been a disproportionate and successful use of litigation tactics intended to delay or deny the enforcement of private separation agreements.
Keywords: coverture, England, Ontario, nineteenth-century
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